"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom" Albert Einstein

"A dame who knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up." Mae West

Sunday, May 31, 2009

My weekend affair with john

This was a weekend of hugging toilets. Literally so, but no alcohol, no food poisoning, no absent husband.

Yesterday it was a fight with a cushioned toilet seat, but we finally resolved our issues. I won and it went to the trash. Clients will now be sitting on a good hard seat that's easy to clean and won't allow them much comfort, resulting in lower fees for my services. (I charge by the hour whether they're comfortably sitting in my office discussing business or comfortably sitting on my toilet reading.)

Today it was moving an entire new toilet from a big box store in the big nearby city into my truck bed into my tenant's apartment.

First the back story: The City sends me a letter this week informing me that water usage is way up this quarter in my office building. Friday, I call all the tenants and ask if they hear any noisy toilet tanks that might be leaking water (the usual suspect of high water usage). They all say no, but one tenant does have a small leak in the bathroom lavatory that's been dripping for quite a while. Of course, I had never been informed of the leak until at moment.

A call to my reliable fix-it guy and that lav problem is solved; however, he does notice that the toilet in the apartment is emptying and refilling constantly. The tenant thought that noise was just a neighbor flushing his toilet. Well, common sense would tell you 1. that concrete walls aren't that thin and 2. that's an awful lot of flushing even if a neighbor has a urinary problem. For some reason, tenants often don't have common sense, even the best of them, probably because they aren't paying the bills. There are landlords who are responsible; it's just that some tenants are not. As a result, my water bill is double this quarter, but I digress.

Mr. Fix-it cleaned all the parts and did what he could, but said it may or may not fix the problem. It was fixed until last night when I got a call from the tenant that the tank was making the same noises again.

The toilet in this apartment is probably 40 years old and better made than most modern toilets, but parts are now difficult to retro-fit to these old ones, so I decided to replace it and the fix-it guy could install it Monday.

I knew exactly what I wanted and found the basic white, handicapped, super flush, low water usage stool in stock. I walked across the entire store to get a flat bed cart and back again to the plumbing section. Apparently the labor force is at its minimum early Sunday mornings; no help could be found. OK, I'm pretty strong, but I'm short and this heavy box was on top of another and I can't lift that much weight above my shoulders. I could slide it down, but I was afraid it would crack if it hit the metal cart too hard.

Along came this wonderful large middle-aged man, who offered assistance, despite the fact that he had had a stroke and only had the use of one arm. We got the job done. I thanked him for his kindness and went to check out; still no employee help in sight.

The girl at the checkout called for assistance at the front of the store, while I left to bring my truck to the exit and the loaded cart. No one showed up for 5 minutes. I reexamined the box, but decided it was too big and heavy to lift the 2 1/2 - 3 feet into the truck bed by myself. An elderly couple offered their son's assistance when he comes to pick them up, but I politely refused and went back into the store where the clerk called for help again.

I waited a few minutes more and the elderly couple's son comes to pick them up. "Could I help you load that?" he said and before I could answer that help is probably coming, he lifted the entire box off the cart and into the truck bed. I graciously thanked him, climbed into the bed and slid the box to the back, and drove off to the office/apartment building.

Upon arriving I asked the tenant what time her son would be arriving for breakfast which he does every Sunday. Not coming today; he's on vacation. I can't ask the 65 year old, shorter than me, tenant to help me get the box out of the truck, so what to do.

I found my nephew in his back yard and borrowed him for 5 minutes. As I climbed into the back of the truck to unload the box, I heard a friendly voice yell across the parking lot, "Can I help?" A neighbor (and client) came strolling over and within 2 minutes he and my nephew had the stool in the apartment bathroom.

In less than 40 minutes, there had been four random people who took time out of their morning schedules to help someone. I may have had a tumultuous affair with john this weekend, but I fell in love today with the kindness of strangers and friends and they certainly deserve all my hugs more than the toilets.

1 comment:

Crockhead said...

Truth in advertising. Your title sounded way more interesting than the contents.